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Monday, August 18, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Expert Says Evidence Shows No Sign Doctor Killed His Wife - PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE, PA - Aug. 14, 2003 ...forensic scientist Henry Lee told a jury that Carl Long's fingerprints on a dry cleaning bag "...show no force, no stress, no pressure."

Read the Aug 17 news story on the above Carl Long case for additional case information and testimony.

Murder Trial Testimony Over - HARTFORD COURANT, CT  - Aug. 14, 2003 ...forensics expert testified that he had linked suspect to two fingerprints, a bloody palmprint and three other palmprints taken from the murder scene...

Teacher Made Students Submit Fingerprints Over Graffiti - JAPAN TODAY - Aug. 12, 2003 ...A Japanese teacher came under fire after taking fingerprints of her pupils to find out who had written the graffiti on the blackboard...

Fingerprints Are Uniquely Your Own - SHELBY STAR, NC - Aug. 10, 2003 ...leaving your fingerprints behind at the scene of a crime is like signing your "John Hancock" by which police can whittle your identity down to the letter...

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that exciting things are happening in the field of latent prints regarding 3-dimensional dynamic imaging.  In Steve Meagher's presentation on the Future of the Fingerprint Discipline two years ago, he mentioned new technology taking us into this realm.  I am totally excited to announce that I have accepted a position with one of the companies that is going to lead our discipline into technological advances that allow us to visualize and analyze images like never before.  Limbic Systems Inc., soon to be renamed LumenIQ Inc., has developed patented software that will allow for the dynamic visualization of 2-dimensional grayscale images in a three dimensional surface rendering and color.  There are also some other very exciting projects 'in the works' that have the potential to revolutionize the way we do business in forensic science.  I look forward to sharing more details as I am able.  However, they say a picture is worth a thousand words:

As part of the management team, specifically the "Director of Forensic Services," I will be responsible for conducting examinations, managing others who do the same, participating in product development, training, research and development, etc.  This naturally means I have turned in my resignation with the Mississippi Crime Laboratory in order to pursue this exciting opportunity. 

The next question for many of you who know me would be, where are you moving?  In fact, my wife, Amy, has just opened up a "Shabby Chic" antique shop in Meridian, and we just built a new home and moved in over the Christmas holidays.  We are not looking to move any time soon; the company will allow me to work from home for the foreseeable future.

One thing I love about Limbic / LumenIQ is that they recognize the value of giving back to the forensic community.  I am encouraged to continue my professional involvement in organizations, committees, workgroups, etc., publishing the Weekly Detail and maintaining CLPEX.com, and teaching seminars and workshops.  Sorry... you won't be seeing any less of me.  :)

One of the most exciting parts of my new employment is that I am now able to review cases as a consultant.  With this new software, there is tremendous potential in being able to visualize information in an image that could not previously be detected by the human eye.  As most latent print examiners know, human vision only allows for limited detection of grayscale levels in an image.  The MICS software amplifies the pixel intensity values of 2-dimensional imagery as a 3-dimensional surface rendering, allowing the examiner to see subtle detail which was previously undetectable.

Infrastructure is being explored which would allow for secure, online case review over the internet.  More details on that will be available soon, but be thinking of the implications for cold case review.  Applying new technology to existing case evidence often yields results not previously possible.  This is happening with DNA all over the country.  I believe it is only a matter of time before MICS brings a case to trial which would not have previously been pursued, or offers evidence of innocence which would not have been previously recognized.  If you have a case which you feel might meet these criterion, feel free to contact me via e-mail or by telephone.

As Daniel H. Burnham once said, "Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood."

For more information about Limbic Systems, Inc. / LumenIQ Inc. visit our website: www.lumeniq.com

We will also be at the IAI conference in St. Louis.


Sam Durrett is in the process of scanning and converting all issues of Fingerprint Whorld to Adobe format for inclusion on a CD at a later date.  He is almost finished, and is willing to send individual articles to people via e-mail, if requested.  Currently, Mervyn Valentine, the Fingerprint Society Archivist, has to make hard copies and send them via snail mail.  I applaud the Fingerprint Society for going to such lengths to share information in the past.  I also am very happy to see them streamlining this process and taking Fingerprint Whorld to the next level.  A special thanks to Sam for his work on this project and his willingness to accept part of the burden of passing on this information in the short term, until the CD is available.  Sam wanted me to pass this news on to possible interested parties that may need Fingerprint Whorld articles for research.  He may be reached by e-mail at:


Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers 12th Annual Forensic Training Seminar
October 3 - 4, 2003, Covina, California

Back to the Basics

Distinguished Guest Speaker - confirmed for Saturday:
Dr. William J. Babler

Expert in the field of prenatal development of human variation, particularly friction ridges and their configurations. Dr. Babler provided testimony at the first Daubert Hearing as to the uniqueness of the individual friction ridge.

The Scientific Basis of Friction Ridge Identification

A review of the hundreds of years of scientific research which establishes that friction skin is unique and allows for individualization of all areas of friction skin.

This session will prepare you to defend against court attacks that allege that there a lack of scientific research and testing and will serve as a review for upcoming certification testing

Orientation of Friction Skin Evidence

Orienting areas of friction skin to establish identifications, the three level of detail and the ACE/V method. This session will also provide a review for upcoming certification testing

Forensic Photography

Digital imaging for the crime scene and evidence documentation

Crime Scene Booby Traps

A presentation by the L.A.S.D. Bomb Squad on booby traps and hazard awareness for the crime scene investigator. Bobby traps found at actual crimes scenes will be shown

Introduction of the new SCAFO Certification Programs for Latent Print Examiners and Ten Print Examiners - Both Days

Embassy Suites
1211 East Garvey St.
Covina, California
Hotel Reservations only (626) 915-3441
SCAFO special rate is $89.00 single occupancy
Training presented in partnership with Long Beach City College

Members* $100.00
Non-Members $140.00
Single day Member* $55.00
Single day non-member $75.00
after September 19, 2003
Members* $120.00
Non-member $160.00
Single day member* $65.00
Single day non-member $85.00

For additional info contact:
Bill Leo (213) 989-2163
Steve Tillmann (213) 989-5145

* SCAFO welcomes members of other professional organizations. SCAFO will honor membership in any professional forensic organization for members discount. Members of organizations other than SCAFO indicate next to agency what organization you belong to.

Registration includes lunch each day.

To avoid the late registration fee, if being paid for or reimbursed by your agency, please send registration form in without delay and indicate how payment will be made. We need a head count for the hotel facilities in advance. Registrations received after September 19th will be charged for late registration. Remember, we will always work with you, but we need to know who is coming in advance.

Refunds: Cancellations after September 26th, are not refundable

The Embassy Suites, 1211 East Garvey St. Covina, CA 91724 (626) 915 3441

To register, mail the following information to:
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
Scientific Services Bureau
Attn: Susan Garcia, Identification Section
2020 W. Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Name as to appear on training certificate:
Agency Address:
amount enclosed:
If single day registration indicate date 3 or 4:


Last week, Craig Coppock introduced the PZ-Code.  This week, Jim McNutt brings us the results of... "You might be a Latent Print Examiner, IF...."


You Might Be A Latent Print Examiner IF...
by Jim McNutt

It has been my experience that latent print examiners are a very interesting, but somewhat weird collection of individuals. Being a little weird should be taken as a compliment of course. With that in mind I think that all of us, at sometime or another, have thought of or done something that others can appreciate. In the vein of Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a red neck” here is a collection of thoughts indicating “you might be a latent print examiner.” Enjoy.

I would like to thank Shaheen Aumeer, Angela Berry, Floyd Bowen, Lloyd Paul Brannon, Dennis Degler, David Fairhurst, Ray Garrison, Glenn, Mindy Johnson, Tom Krull, Stephany Louk-Denney, Charles Parker, Bill Schade, Terry Smith, Hans Teer, Kasey Wertheim, and others who contribute after these acknowledgements were made, for their contributions to this article.

If...when you hear someone refer to a fingerprint pattern as a "swirl" you grit your teeth and explain to them that swirls are in ice cream, NOT fingerprints...you might be a latent print examiner.

If…you inspect the bowls of jello at the buffet to get the slice with no fingerprint on top…you might be a latent print examiner.

If… you’re more interested in what’s on the outside of the beer glass instead of the contents…

If...after eating at a nice restaurant, you wipe down the glass you were drinking from…

If…you hear the name Charles Darwin and immediately think “Cousin of Sir Francis Galton” rather than “Father of the Theory of Evolution….

If…you check your teenage daughter for fingerprints after every date…

If…on your first date you muster up the courage to take her hand gently in yours, tenderly rotate it palmar side up, and gaze down at her beautiful friction ridge skin…

If…when your child says he didn’t touch it and you’ve taken his prints and compared them to the prints left on the window you just cleaned…

If…you take the time to figure out which puppy made the muddy prints on the couch (just to confirm the guilty look she gives you)…

If…you know the “Crimewatch” fingerprint is upside down…(for the UK readers. Crimewatch is a UK TV program.)

If…you noticed the fingerprint on the front of the IAI St. Louis conference flyer is upside down…

If…you tend to handle most items, (doorknobs, money, documents etc.) with the inside surface of your fingers, even when you are away from the office…

If…you can’t seem to walk past a fingerprint card without picking it up to examine it…

If …you see aliens, horses, snakes, smiley faces, a Cyclops, (or who knows what else) in fingerprints…

If…every aspect of your life is a quality or quantity issue…

If…you bring home your new kitten and decide to name it “Daubert”…

If…you look at your coffee table with oblique lighting before you “wax it with Pledge”…

If…you have an excess stash of superglue in your refrigerator…

If… you have ten-print images over your desk, instead of a pin-up girlie (or beefcake for the ladies) calendar…

If…you have noticed that the print on top of the Dinty Moore Beef Stew can is a double loop whorl with virtually no Galton details…

If… when you go to the zoo you tend to notice the bifurcations and ridge endings in the zebra stripes more than the zebras…

If…you have a picture of the standard fingerprint patterns hanging on the wall of your home, and you call it “art”…

If…you have ever examined your feet to see if the patterns on your toes are different than the patterns on your fingers…

If… you find yourself having to stop so you can examine the prints on glass doors to banks, convenience stores, office buildings, etc…

If…you find yourself examining patent prints on the elevator door instead of pretending to read the inspection certification…

If…you examine and criticize the level of detail on your newborn child’s footprints on the hospital records, then you want to do it right! …

If…you just had a baby and you think because the baby has loops instead of whorls it takes more after you…

If… you have compared the pattern types of your children with you, your spouse, your parents, your in-laws, grandparents, etc. etc….

If… when you see a print on a TV cop show you are compelled to point out the pattern type, which finger it probably came from, to the person you are with (who usually doesn’t care)…

If… you try to find a pattern in the sand ridges of a desert…

And my personal favorite, a special thanks to David Fairhurst:
If…you know the McKie identification is WRONG!!!....you might be a latent print examiner.

Jim McNutt
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department
Wichita, KS


To discuss this week's Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com
message board and share your thoughts: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

And as usual, the onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent print-related discussions.

For discussions with an international flair, check out Dave Charlton's forum at: http://charlton97.proboards12.com/index.cgi



"There are three fundamental principles that fingerprints obey:

1. A fingerprint is an individual characteristic. No two identical fingerprints have been taken from different individuals.

2. A fingerprint will remain unchanged during an individual's lifetime.

3. Fingerprints have general characteristic ridge patterns that permit them to be systematically classified."

Contributed by Steve Everist,
Copied from


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Updated the Newzroom

Updated the Detail Archives

Feel free to pass The Detail along to other examiners.  This is a free newsletter FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!